The Detroit Lions should think long and hard before releasing edge rusher and linebacker James Houston.
He recorded eight sacks in seven games last season during a time the defense looked good. The Lions are so deep and so upgraded in talent now that a guy like Houston is being talked around as a potential cut prior to Tuesday’s deadline of shaving the 90-man roster to 53.
Houston, now in his second season, might be outworked by some of the younger talent prior to the season-opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, but this man has excelled when the lights were brightest. He was so good the second half of last season that we sometimes forgot about NFL Rookie of the Year runner up Aiden Hutchinson.
“I mean, we’re going to have to let go of some really good players, and that’s tough,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said after the Lions final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. “That’s tough to do. But that means that there’s growth and the talent levels gone up. And that’s a good thing for your football team. As long as it’s the right guys you are keeping, we feel pretty good about everybody on this football team that’s in this crop. But it’s always tough this time of year.”
My guess is James Houston survives.
The real tough decisions must come on the defensive line where a stock pile of talent bolsters the defensive front. Do you recall a couple years ago where this unit existed of 99-pound weaklings about to have their school lunch taken from them every week?
Bubble guys put forth their best effort in the Carolina game. It seems as nobody wants to go home. Wide receiver Dylan
Drummond caught five passes for 46 yards. Seventh round draft pick Antoine Green had three catches for 90 yards, which included a 70-yard touchdown reception.
Running back Craig Reynolds scored the team’s first touchdown and finished with 41 yards on 11 carries.
“Craig has not changed one bit,” Campbell said. “He’s just steady. And he handles his business and he knows what he’s doing.”
For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet
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Original Photo Credit: © Lon Horwedel – USA TODAY Sports